The evolution of customer care: From call centres to AI assistants
Customer care is a multifaceted discipline that goes beyond mere monetary transactions. In today’s market climate, defined by choice, convenience, and consumer-centric approaches, customer care has never been more important. Brands develop a genuine relationship with their consumers by listening to concerns and offering solutions.
Before the digital revolution, customer service was primarily in person or over the phone. Although face-to-face interactions allowed for personal connections, trust-building, and tailored solutions, they had their share of limitations, too. However, with the advancements in AI, the field of customer care has bloomed. AI customer service solutions have changed the traditional methods of customer care operations and made lives easier.
The evolution of customer service over the years
Call centres have long been the wheel that kept customer care services rolling. What started with mail and office drop-ins to lodge formal complaints and develop a customer-service provider relationship soon moved on to the telephone technology of the 20th century. This enabled the brands and service providers to offer round-the-clock customer support, ensuring that customers got assistance even outside regular business hours. This was especially important for the healthcare and telecommunications industries.
Call centres gradually integrated with emerging technologies, such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. These technologies streamlined customer interactions and improved data management.
The shift to multichannel support
With continuous technological evolution, customer care expanded beyond traditional calls at call centres to various channels like email, chat, social media, and self-service portals. More channels of contact led to the birth of contact centres.Both contact centres and call centres offer customer services but through different communication systems.
Soon followed the next big technological innovation — Artificial Intelligence or AI.
Artificial Intelligence is used in a variety of ways in call centres; some of the major ones are:
- Interactive voice response (IVR)
- Virtual agents
- Speech analytics
- Sentiment analysis
The benefits of AI in call centres
The call centre industry is dynamic and continues to grow and evolve. It is being revolutionised by AI, which is transforming how customer interaction is conducted. Take a look at some ways AI is changing call centres and, thereby, customer care.
Improved customer service
Natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) are used to understand the customer’s intent and respond in real time. These help assess customer sentiments and requirements and connect them to the right agent. This intelligent routing system makes AI customer service solutions more personalised and promotes customer satisfaction.
Artificial intelligence can monitor real-time conversations and offer handy tips, ideas, and easy access to all the required information. Thus, AI helps tailor the assistance according to the customer’s needs and wants.
AI can sift through massive data loads and spot trends. In the world of call centres, this means they can predict which customers are heading for the exit and employ the right retaining procedures to hold them back. Plus, it can use this predictive nature to guess what customers might need and offer recommendations, making everyone’s experience more than satisfactory.
Quality control and improvement
AI can automatically monitor and evaluate customer interactions, including calls, chats, and emails, to ensure agents stick to company guidelines and quality standards. It can also track key performance metrics, such as first call resolution, average handling time, and customer satisfaction scores, to provide real-time feedback.
Customers can now avoid long waiting hours and skip the talk with human agents. AI-enabled self-service options like intelligent chatbots and virtual assistants provide immediate and 24/7 assistance. This promotes a harmonious relationship between AI and customer service, reducing the load on call centres while keeping the customers happy.
Drawbacks of AI in customer care centers
AI and customer service are mostly a thriving pair, but not without some drawbacks. Lack of empathy and human touch is one of the foremost drawbacks of AI in customer service. The lack of emotional complexity and understanding is also holding it back. Lastly, the threat of data security looms large despite advanced safeguards to maintain customer privacy.
The customer care journey has been simplified by AI. It has made operations efficient and seamless, enhancing the customer experience. But, contrary to the general belief, AI cannot run independently and needs human beings to regulate and steer it accordingly.
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How can Infosys BPM help?
Infosys BPM customer care outsourcing services bring a suite of automation and AI tools to streamline and transform customer care services, allowing your team to utilise their experience and expertise effectively and efficiently.